Neem is one of those products that permeates our everyday lives without us even knowing about it. Arborjet’s Horticultural Specialist Matt Andrus explains what neem is and how it can be applied to your crops by answering five frequently asked questions about neem.
What is Neem?
The word neem refers to a tree called, Azadirachta Indica. In the gardening world neem refers to the oil found inside the tree. Inside the neem oil is a substance called Azadirachtin. This is what is providing the modes of action as a pesticide.
What is neem derived from? Why is neem safe to use?
The Neem Tree, Azadirachta Indica, is harvested to be pressed for its neem oil. Neem oil can be further refined to concentrate the azadirachtin found inside the neem oil.
Neem is considered safe because of its chemical class and it long history with human use. Neem is not just a pesticide: it is also used in many products intended for use on humans. Some examples are cosmetics, shampoos, and toothpastes.
In what forms is it most beneficial?
One very beneficial form would be water soluble powder. This allows the product to move systemically and that is perfect for preventative treatments. Oil-based formulation are best used for active infestations as a contact insecticide.
In what plant applications do we see neem applied?
Neem can be applied to plants at any time. It can be applied during the propagation, vegetative and the reproductive (flower) stages of growth. The most effective method is a preventative propagation application. This means get the neem on the plant before the pest gets there. Neem can also be applied during an active infestation but will usually take higher dose rates at shorter intervals.
Will neem affect my crop’s yield?
Neem shouldn’t directly increase or decrease yield.